Private Session Tape 1977 [no label 1CD]
Very little information is known about this tape, which was recorded in mid '77 shortly before Marc died. It features the rehearsals of "Standing Next To You" broadcast on the 'Marc' show. They also play "Madman" and two other songs (titles unknown)." GD SBD stereo? For collectors only.

It’s rough, it’s raw, but are there any more exhilarating noises in the (post-Ziggy) Bowie catalog than this short (20 minute), but so-joyously boisterous tape of rehearsals for his September 1977 appearance on Marc Bolan’s Marc TV show?

Close friends whose paths had stopped crossing once they both embraced stardom, this was not Bowie and Bolan’s first attempt to record something together - they’re said to have cut several other demos in LA in 1975. But it is the only one to have leaked out to the public, via a cassette tape that was doing the rounds as far back as 1980 (the post punk band Cuddly Toys even recorded a cover of one of the songs, "Madman," for a single that same year).

Listening to the full tape does not unearth any further gems; in fact, aside from "Madman" and "Standing Next To You," the number with which the pair closed the TV show, they seem to be simply messing around, improvising around whichever riff most recently came to mind. The pleasure, then, lies in second-guessing what might have become of these snatches, had they only been able to follow through on the project, and in the spider’s eye view of the pair messing around together, chattering amongst themselves. "Thank you, that was David Bowie, and it was the best thing I’ve ever heard in my life," announces Bolan after one undistinguished riff passes by, and though you know he was joking at the time, who knows what could have become of that riff?

There are precious few available recordings of Bowie actually relaxing in a studio… in fact, outside of his own tour rehearsals, there’s none whatsoever. For that reason alone, this should be a precious collection. But in terms of simply having a wonderful time, it is so much more than that. - Dave Thompson

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